Last week we introduced our Vision Series with a reflection on our Vision Statement: Our city transformed by the hope of the Risen Christ. As we studied the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church it was striking just how closely aligned our statement is with Paul’s desire for his church. His prayer for them, and therefore for us, is for the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened to know the hope to which God has called us, the glorious riches of our inheritance among the holy ones of God. Paul wants us to understand the certainty of this outcome, based on the power of God at work in us already to raise us spiritually, born from above, just as Christ was raised from the dead. He wants us to know the certainty that we also will be raised with him physically, just as we are now in Christ and one with Him.
I pray that you are growing daily in that certainty, despite your sin, despite any illness and any trouble you may be experiencing. This is our unspeakable comfort.
This week we turn to the first of our three mission statements. To grow disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. How will we ever see our city transformed for Christ? The first priority is to grow disciples. The word ‘Grow’ is deliberately chosen to focus our attention on our own spiritual growth. We won’t turn to our responsibility to take the message of the Risen Christ out to our city and our world until the third of our mission statements.
If we are growing closer to Jesus, recognising how vast his love is for us, putting our roots further down into God’s word to deepen our understanding, relying more and more on his grace as we recognise our own depravity, transparent about our own sin even as we strive to obey his law of love, life and grace, with all our weaknesses and failures… this is to grow as a disciple of Jesus. This is how we are to walk together, encourage one another and spur one another on to love and good deeds.
This is where we must start, not with our city, but with an examination of our own lives prayerfully before our God and Saviour. Only then can we bring God’s wonderful message of love to our city and our world.
How do we grow in Christ? That is simple: God’s word and prayer. God’s word and prayer in our daily lives, in our growth groups, in our congregations, in every situation bringing God’s word and prayer to bear. Then we will see the fruit of God’s Spirit who is at work in us. May God help each of us and bring us closer to Jesus, as He prepares us to meet him on that final day.
Bruce Morrison / Senior Minister
St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta
PRAY: Give thanks for the many ways we have available at St John’s to grow as disciples of Jesus. Pray that we would grow closer to Jesus, recognising how vast his love is for us. Pray that we would put our roots further down into God’s word to deepen our understanding, relying more and more on his grace as we recognise our own sin and depravity.
Join us this Sunday for our Sunday services. We meet at 8am, 9:30am, 11am and 5pm at the Cathedral – and online at 9:30am. Check out out Sunday services page for more information on our face-to-face services.